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I haven’t studied LGBT history a great deal, but I know that things have come a long way.
Alan Turing has long been a hero of mine, not just for his brilliant mind but as a—sadly posthumous—figurehead of LGBT rights. Last time I was in Manchester I felt compelled to visit his statue in Sackville Gardens. He wasn’t there when I used to frequent Canal Street in my late twenties.
What happened to him was unforgivable.
The Pride parades used to have a powerful meaning. Look. We’re here. We’re queer. You’d better get used to us.
They were, essentially raising awareness that there are a whole bunch of people who are living quietly behind the scenes, not threatening anyone, getting on with their lives and their own sexuality.
I went to a few Pride parades back in the day… but over time I’ve noticed them getting more and more outrageous. And I think that’s a big problem.
You see, now the message is: Look at us… we walk around in bondage gear, or semi-nudity… we are hyper-sexualised… we’re in your face and will happily trample on your sensibilities.
I don’t believe there’s a need for that.
Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you’re hyper-sexualised. And that’s absolutely not a message I want anyone else to hear. It fuels the stereotypes… promiscuity, partying, drugs…
I remember last time I came out, some sixteen years ago, my brother’s girlfriend was all excited because we’d be able to go clubbing together… I wasn’t so excited… I didn’t enjoy clubbing before, and I wasn’t going to start enjoying it now.
One of the obstacles I had to coming out was that I felt I wasn’t “gay enough”.
Well, that’s just society’s expectations and stereotypes coming into play, isn’t it?
Who decides what is “gay enough”? No-one but me.
I toyed with the idea of starting a “quiet pride” movement. There is definitely scope for LGBT people to be ‘proud’ of who they are… their self-esteem takes enough bashing in the hetero-normalised society we live in.
But there’s no need, in my humble opinion, for the outrageous parades of modern Pride.
Call it a carnival, or a party or… I don’t know… just don’t do it in my name, or in the name of other quiet members of the LGBT community who are simply getting on with their lives, loving who they love.
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